Ellen Muriel Deason (August 30, 1919 – July 16, 2012), known professionally as Kitty Wells, was an American pioneering female country music singer. She broke down a female barrier in country music with her 1952 hit recording, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" which also made her the first female country singer to top the U.S. country charts, and turned her into the first female country star. Her Top 10 hits continued until the mid-1960s, inspiring a long list of female country singers who came to prominence in the 1960s.   Wells ranks as the sixth most successful female vocalist in the history of Billboard's country charts, according to historian Joel Whitburn's book The Top 40 Country Hits, behind Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, Tammy Wynette, and Tanya Tucker. In 1976, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1991, she became the third country music artist, after Roy Acuff and Hank Williams, and the eighth woman to receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Her accomplishments earned her the nickname "Queen of Country Music".   Nashville, Tennessee. (She is one of the few well known country performers to have been born in Nashville.) She began singing as a child, learning guitar from her father, who was a brakeman on the Tennessee Central Railroad.Her father, Charles, and his brother were musicians and her mother, Myrtle, was a gospel singer.As a teenager, she sang with her sisters, who performed under the name the Deason Sisters on a local radio station beginning in 1936.   At the age of 18 she married Johnnie Wright, a cabinet-maker who aspired to country-music stardom (which he'd eventually achieve as half of the duo Johnnie & Jack).   Wells sang with Wright and his sister Louise Wright; the three toured as Johnnie Right and the Harmony Girls. Soon Wright met Jack Anglin, who married Louise and became part of the band, which became known first as the Tennessee Hillbillies and then the Tennessee Mountain Boys.   Wright and Wells performed as a duo; it was at this time she adopted "Kitty Wells" as her stage name. Johnnie Wright chose the name from a folk song called "Sweet Kitty Wells". When Anglin returned from the Army, he and Wright formed the Johnnie & Jack duo. Wells would tour with the pair, occasionally performing backup vocals.Before Wells' rise to stardom with "Honky Tonk Angels", Roy Acuff and the Smoky Mountain Boys toured with Wright and Wells for a time. Acuff advised Wright not to make his wife his show's headliner, because he thought women could not sell country music records.   On Louisiana Hayride, she performed with her husband's duo. Wells, however, did not sing on their records until signing with RCA Victor in 1949 releasing some of her first singles, including "Death At The Bar" and "Don't Wait For The Last Minute To Pray", neither of which charted. While these early records gained some notice, promoters still weren't keen on promoting female singers, and therefore Wells was dropped from the label in 1950.
  Ellen Muriel Deason (August 30, 1919 – July 16, 2012), known professionally as Kitty Wells, was an American pioneering female country music singer. She broke down a female barrier in country music with her 1952 hit recording, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" which also made her the first female country singer to top the U.S. country charts, and turned her into the first female country star. Her Top 10 hits continued until the mid-1960s, inspiring a long list of female country singers who came to prominence in the 1960s.   Wells ranks as the sixth most successful female vocalist in the history of Billboard's country charts, according to historian Joel Whitburn's book The Top 40 Country Hits, behind Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, Tammy Wynette, and Tanya Tucker. In 1976, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1991, she became the third country music artist, after Roy Acuff and Hank Williams, and the eighth woman to receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Her accomplishments earned her the nickname "Queen of Country Music".   Nashville, Tennessee. (She is one of the few well known country performers to have been born in Nashville.) She began singing as a child, learning guitar from her father, who was a brakeman on the Tennessee Central Railroad.Her father, Charles, and his brother were musicians and her mother, Myrtle, was a gospel singer.As a teenager, she sang with her sisters, who performed under the name the Deason Sisters on a local radio station beginning in 1936.   At the age of 18 she married Johnnie Wright, a cabinet-maker who aspired to country-music stardom (which he'd eventually achieve as half of the duo Johnnie & Jack).   Wells sang with Wright and his sister Louise Wright; the three toured as Johnnie Right and the Harmony Girls. Soon Wright met Jack Anglin, who married Louise and became part of the band, which became known first as the Tennessee Hillbillies and then the Tennessee Mountain Boys.   Wright and Wells performed as a duo; it was at this time she adopted "Kitty Wells" as her stage name. Johnnie Wright chose the name from a folk song called "Sweet Kitty Wells". When Anglin returned from the Army, he and Wright formed the Johnnie & Jack duo. Wells would tour with the pair, occasionally performing backup vocals.Before Wells' rise to stardom with "Honky Tonk Angels", Roy Acuff and the Smoky Mountain Boys toured with Wright and Wells for a time. Acuff advised Wright not to make his wife his show's headliner, because he thought women could not sell country music records.   On Louisiana Hayride, she performed with her husband's duo. Wells, however, did not sing on their records until signing with RCA Victor in 1949 releasing some of her first singles, including "Death At The Bar" and "Don't Wait For The Last Minute To Pray", neither of which charted. While these early records gained some notice, promoters still weren't keen on promoting female singers, and therefore Wells was dropped from the label in 1950.
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Kitty Wells
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